Field Camera kit to build camera?

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Let me start off by saying that although I love the idea of working wood, I know that in practicality... all I will ever be able to do is make sawdust and scraps. I did make a very decent enlarger table an elephant could probably sit on without requiring me to go out and make another table. Table is crude but level and has a shelf. More importantly, it holds stuff off the floor doesn't jiggle at all. I am aiming higher than that for the camera I want to build.

Anyhow, I want to make a view camera but don't want to start from absolute scratch. I remember seeing an ad for a kit you could purchase. the wood needed to be finished and the camera assembled but that was about all required. Anyone else remember such a thing? I believe the vendor was somewhere in central Washington between Seattle and Yakima.
 

ann

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Bender cameras. Try google with that name.
 

rbarker

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As Ann suggested, it's probably Bender that you're thinking of. If so, you might want to pay particular attention to its features and read the FAQ on their page. The kit does not provide gear-driven focus, but rather focuses by sliding the front or back standard manually along the rail. That may or may not be a drawback for what you intend.
 

doughowk

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Try Bender Photographic . I started in LF with one, & still use it when needing all movements of monorail but lightness of a field camera. If you do make it, be careful when putting together the rail clamps, if too loose, the standards wobble. It is a nice camera, though; and Jay Bender is one of the good guys in camera business.
 

127

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The Bender's look great, but with my more limited woodworking skills I'd be too scared of trashing an expensive kit.

My first go at building a camera, I sacrificed movements for something I could design and build myself VERY cheaply ($10 lens, $10 darkslide, $10 MDF), without any great skill. It's basically two mdf boxes that slide in and out of each other. It doesn't currently have a shutter ("real" shutters are too expensive!), though I've got a design for a simple shutter that I could retrofit.

It actually works pretty well, and there is NOTHING cooler than printing an image from a camera you build yourself - even if it's not technically or aesthetically great. I'd think that starting with a kit would take some of that away - even though you'd end up with a better camera at the end of it. If you want the experience of building something then get some wood and do it - it probably requires LESS skill than building the kit to a decent level of usability.

I picked up another cheap lens a few weeks ago, so there's definalty at least one more camera to be built. The lens I got doesn't quiet match what I need for one design, so there are probably at least TWO more to be built.

Ian
 

dr bob

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What am I thinking of? Wasn't there a thread almost at the beginning of APUG in which the originator was going to build a Bender and document the construction in an article with photographs? What happened? Or am I dreaming?
 

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Let me start off by saying that although I love the idea of working wood, I know that in practicality... all I will ever be able to do is make sawdust and scraps.


My how things change. I have watched Schwinn Paramount control a table saw within .005 in over and over and over again and set up a milling machine, and do all sorts of camera making operations with skill and confidence. He has come such a long way since he wrote those words and I bet he doesn't even realize it. You should ask him to show you some pictures of the beautiful boxes he was making the last time I visited his workshop. That has changed too. He has aquired many fine machines in the last year alone.
 

Ole

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There's now the Bulldog camera from Camerabellows for those of us with few woodworking tools and even less skill :smile:
 
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Curt

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Didn't George Washington build a bender view camera? They are like a kids science project. Get something off eBay that works.
 

BradS

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My how things change. I have watched Schwinn Paramount control a table saw within .005 in over and over and over again and set up a milling machine, and do all sorts of camera making operations with skill and confidence. He has come such a long way since he wrote those words and I bet he doesn't even realize it. You should ask him to show you some pictures of the beautiful boxes he was making the last time I visited his workshop. That has changed too. He has aquired many fine machines in the last year alone.

OK, Schwinn....show the goods! We all know what you guys been up to - up there in the Pacific North West...lets see the finished product. Let's see some photos from the new cameras. The *WORLD* awaits.

Sincerely, Brad.
 
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OK, Schwinn....show the goods! We all know what you guys been up to - up there in the Pacific North West...lets see the finished product. Let's see some photos from the new cameras. The *WORLD* awaits.

Sincerely, Brad.

Uh... I have to wait until Mr. Young finishes his camera. We're a partnership you know. I may have a nice camera but I haven't been able to afford a lens with all the equipment purchases Barry alluded to. And dang it, I still don't have a band saw! The box I was finishing up when Barry was in my woodshop is made with Honduran Mahogony which was sitting on the side of my house for 10 years. I was digging through all this old wood in a great pile with the idea I would burn or dump it. About a third of the way down the pile, I found about 20 6' 4"x1" rough sawn mahogony boards from the prior owner's building project. I guess he had a buddy in the hardwood import business.

At any rate, the camera is cherry. The finger-jointed boxes I'm making for lenses and other accessories are made from this old mahogony. It is beautiful heartwood and very dense. I can't get a #0 brass nail into it.
 
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My how things change. I have watched Schwinn Paramount control a table saw within .005 in over and over and over again and set up a milling machine, and do all sorts of camera making operations with skill and confidence. He has come such a long way since he wrote those words and I bet he doesn't even realize it. You should ask him to show you some pictures of the beautiful boxes he was making the last time I visited his workshop. That has changed too. He has aquired many fine machines in the last year alone.

And I might add that BarryYoung is an excellent teacher. The skills I've picked up in the last year, were given to me by Mr. Young himself. If you all want to learn how to work wood with precision, you can do no better than to sit at the feet of the master. Barry has been an aerospace machinist for quite a while and has an amazing ability to work to extremely fine tolerances (.0001 inches... for example) and repeat operations with the same precision. Amazingly enough, he can produce those results with wood too!

How many other woodworkers attach digital calipers to their thickness planer? :tongue:
 

Dan Fromm

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Um, SP, I've been wondering about your screen name for a while now. My Paramount, serial number U33, was made to my order in 1964. What's your s/n and when were you made?
 
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Um, SP, I've been wondering about your screen name for a while now. My Paramount, serial number U33, was made to my order in 1964. What's your s/n and when were you made?

My Paramount was made when I was just a lad. I traded one of my Italian racing rigs for it about 5 years ago. All I can say is that it was made in the early 70's at the Wisconsin factory. I normally ride a 54.5cm top tube/ 54 cm seat tube but my Paramount is a 56/56. A wee bit big but nice to ride. I still ride tubulars on it and it has the original Campy Super Record drive train. I don't know off the top of my head what the serial number is though.

I've had a Waterford made at the same factory by pretty much the same people and had a marvelous experience with it too. Stupidly, I traded that frame away! I also traded away my early 80's Tommassini. I'm down to a hand-made Co-Motion (Eugene OR), a Mondonico (Florence, It.) which was made to my exact dimensions, a Moser (Italian as well) and the Paramount. When I was racing, the Mondonico was my rig. Now that I've abandoned, the Paramount is my regualar ride.
 

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When mine was made, Campy Record was optional, base crankset was Stronglite (steel) with Lyotard platform pedals. After I sheared the original crank axle I went over to the then current japanese imitation Record. Never felt the need to own another bike, and these days mine is bolted to a wind trainer that I don't use often enough.

Always viewed my Paramount as my, um, loser's consolation prize. Saw an advert for an AutoMoto at at attractive price, asked my brother to tell me whether I should buy it and he bought it. Lugged frame, double-butted Columbus tube IIRC, all Campy Record. Beautiful little bike, wonderfully responsive, really too small for me, but ... So I broke down an ordered a Paramount. In those days dealers sold them below list and bikes made to order came from Chicago in 4-6 weeks after the order was placed.

I don't know if my brother still has his stolen (from me) AutoMoto. These days he rides an Alex Moulton.

Getting back to cameras, since you have the Mahogany, when are you going to make a Crown Graphic?
 
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When mine was made, Campy Record was optional, base crankset was Stronglite (steel) with Lyotard platform pedals. After I sheared the original crank axle I went over to the then current japanese imitation Record. Never felt the need to own another bike, and these days mine is bolted to a wind trainer that I don't use often enough.

Always viewed my Paramount as my, um, loser's consolation prize. Saw an advert for an AutoMoto at at attractive price, asked my brother to tell me whether I should buy it and he bought it. Lugged frame, double-butted Columbus tube IIRC, all Campy Record. Beautiful little bike, wonderfully responsive, really too small for me, but ... So I broke down an ordered a Paramount. In those days dealers sold them below list and bikes made to order came from Chicago in 4-6 weeks after the order was placed.

I don't know if my brother still has his stolen (from me) AutoMoto. These days he rides an Alex Moulton.

Getting back to cameras, since you have the Mahogany, when are you going to make a Crown Graphic?

Good question. I actually have a Crown and have been thinking of stripping off that leather skin and refinishing the Mahogony box. I've been chicken... thinking that if I screwed it up then I'd never be able to get it back together. Instead of re-finishing my Crown, I'm building a whole new camera out of cherry. I just wish I had time to get the final work on it done. I still need to finish the wood and do the final assembly.

Oh, I forgot to mention that I had a sublime Tom Kellogg (New England frame maker) which I sold to NobleBeast about a year back. I hope he's getting as much enjoyment out of it as I did.
 

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SP, I was thinking more of a Crown that Graflex never made. 5x7 or 8x10, say. Much easier and less time-consuming to buy one in any of the officially issued sizes.

Cheers,

Dan
 

Jim Jones

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SP, I was thinking more of a Crown that Graflex never made. 5x7 or 8x10, say. Much easier and less time-consuming to buy one in any of the officially issued sizes.

Cheers,

Dan

While the Crown wasn't made in 5x7, other Graphics were: the "top handle" model from 1912 to 1927 and the 5x7 Speed Graphic from 1932 to 1941. Even earlier was the elegant RB Cycle Graphic. The latter was also made in 8x10!
 

bumbersdad

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I started with a Fader (similar to a Bender). In time, glue joints failed, but the lens and film stages were still good. I replaced the uprights on both standards with chest hinges, available at Home Depot. It's still not perfect, but it's a decent camera with full movements. Unfortunately, I don't have web space to keep a photo, but take my word for it, it's not too bad.
 

barryjyoung

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Who knows, maybe a new wooden camera company could come of this. :wink:

Rich


We are certainly trying. This has not been a very good year. I was supposed to have cameras finished by last summer. But with my back injury, Three cars breaking down, new job where I actually have to work, the CNC modification to the milling machine, the workshop flood, the CNC machine never working correctly because of shoddy ballscrews, and a million other tragedies, it has been impossible.

Next month a new component will come for the CNC milling machine which should end the problems with our mill and greatly increase the size of parts we can make automatically from 6 to 26 inches in length. In March I will buy a new cabinetmakers saw and that will complete my workshop. As Schwinn Paramount has said, we need to get a bandsaw into his shop. He will then be completely outfitted to produce the wooden parts on his very high quality equipment. The only thing we are waiting on after that is some warmer weather as neither of us has a heated workshop and we are way up North near Seattle, so it has been cold as a used camera dealers heart the last few weeks.

I also have a friend who I work with who has a CNC milling machine in his garage and he might want to produce some parts for us.

So yes, a new wooden camera company is trying to peck its way out of the egg.

Barry Young
Young Camera Company
 

barryjyoung

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Hi Barry,

I hope things improve, you are successful in getting the company off the ground and you find the proper audience for the cameras.

Rich


Thank you Rich. I hope all of that too.

Have a great new year Ape Huggers!
 

barryjyoung

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Well, we are moving forward again finally. Yesterday I ordered a new MUCH larger table for the CNC (Computer Numerical Control) milling machine which increases the length of parts we can make from 6 to 26 inches in length. This will also cure the problem with the ballscrews we have been fighting for the last 6 months. In addition, I found some CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing) software that looks promising. The CAM software is a program that takes the 3D CAD (Computer Aided Design) drawings of the camera parts and converts them to a series of codes called EIA caodes (also frequently called G and M codes) which are a series of instructions that tell the milling machine how to move automatically.

It will take 6 weeks for the new machine table to be built and delivered. During that time I will be building a new machine support and learning to get all three pieces of software to play nicely together and making any required changes to the drawings. I assume no more than a week after the new table arrives we should have it running because I have already gone through the CNC part of it and am basically just changing mechanical components.

The plan is for Schwinn Paramount to produce high quality finger jointed boxes, most of the film holder parts, and many blanks from which camera parts will made. These blanks will then be finish machined on the very precise CNC machine after the wood has had a chance to properly season. Schwinn Paramount also has a ready labor pool. His two eldest sons are very interested in sawing and planing blanks.

I have another vendor who is currently reviewing drawings of most of the flat metal parts. He has a CNC milling machine in his garage too. Between the five of us, we should have a fairly formidable manufacturing capability.

We have had many setbacks and disappointments, none of which has diminished our resolve to manufacture cameras, film holders and tripods which are high quality, durable and reasonably priced. We will succeed at this, it is just taking a lot longer than I thought it would. Sorry for the delays everyone.
 
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